Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.
Travel is a holiday tradition in our family. Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, we will spend time in our car on the interstate or in the airport. When we first married 14 years ago, my husband and I agreed upon an alternating holiday celebration plan for this time of year. Here's how it works: if we have Thanksgiving with his family, we spend Christmas with mine. The next year, it works in reverse.
Our plan met with little resistance from our siblings and fathers - only our mothers put up fierce resistance in the beginning. They realized what we had not considered, that at some point there would be grandchildren. When our son Ian was born, "Grandma" - Murv's mother - and "Nana" - my mother - needled, nudged and not-so-subtly pushed to be with the baby on his first Christmas. Turns out it was Christmas in Indianapolis with the in-laws and hourly phone calls from Nana in Cincinnati.
Hitting the road for the holidays does come with its challenges, from bumper-to-bumper traffic and flight delays to baggage fees and inclement weather. For the most part, our travels have been smooth. Just last year we drove to Orlando, Florida, for Christmas. It was a beautiful drive south through the Carolinas to the Sunshine State. Our return, though, had a few tricky turns as we traveled through the snowy hills of Tennessee and Kentucky on our way home to Ohio.
Ian is always a trooper and ready for the road - or the air. These days he looks forward to time spent with cousins and other family members we don't see nearly as often as we'd like. As he gets older, it is easier to pack his bags and go. Traveling at Christmas does require creativity when it comes to making sure Santa knows where to stop and that all family members are prepared for his arrival.
We have managed to make the most of the additional quality family time that traveling allows. It's meant making the most of hours in the car traveling scenic roadways or spent sitting in crowded airport gates. Many teachable moments have come from instances of road rage and the theatrics of overzealous TSA screeners at other airports.
This year we will break from our tradition of travel and celebrate Christmas at home here in Columbus. I have to admit that I'm looking forward to preparing for the festivities and the arrival of family. My "inner Martha Stewart" is giddy with ideas for decorating, baking and entertaining. These are the things I miss out on when we are not at home.
Of course, all of these things remind me that I'll miss out on what may be the true silver lining in our travel tradition - never having to do a top-to-bottom, white-glove, Mother-approved house cleaning.
-Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.